We asked some of the finance stars in Forbes 30 under 30 to share their best career advice — here’s what they had to say
Forbes recently released its 30 under 30 list for finance, highlighting a new crop of leaders shaking up Wall Street. Whether closing multibillion-dollar deals, inventing new financial technologies, or leading the future of crypto, they’re already making an impact despite their young age.
Business Insider asked these finance superstars to share their best career advice for the young professionals. Here’s what they had to say.
Charlie Javice, 26, founder of Frank.
The 26-year-old University of Pennsylvania grad is trying to improve the $1.5 trillion student loan market by making the application process faster and easier. To date, the startup has helped 300,000 students receive roughly $7 billion in financial aid. Here’s Javice’s advice for young professionals just staring out in their careers.
My first advice is to show up. Many people today underestimate the power of showing up. When you’re in a job, you come in an hour before your boss and leave an hour after your boss. Just by being there, you’re learning. Even if you don’t love it. When you transfer from being a student to becoming employed, it’s really hard to lose some of that freedom and work in a structured environment. So the most important thing is to show up and listen, and be there to absorb knowledge. People are investing in you and they can teach you.
You should also always ask yourself the question “Why?” And I break it down into three types of whys. One is “Why am I the best for this job?” If you can’t answer that, you should probably not be doing what you’re doing. Do something that you can be amazing at and be in the top 1% of performers. Because if not, you’re wasting your talent.
The other is “Why am I different than other applicants?” And this is something that’s super important, because the difference is oftentimes better than being the best of something. So if you can distinguish yourself, be different and have a different approach and understand why you are different — you can really explain your value add and understand where you’re going in your career.
Then the last one — which is really a mental health check — is “Why do I want to do this?” If you’re in a position that you can invest in yourself when you’re out of school, you should probably take the hit and take a little bit less salary, to have a better reason than money to pursue something.
Erica Dorfman, 29, head of Finance & Operations at Tally Technologies.
Dorfman is in charge of strategy, liquidity and financing at Tally, which offers an automated app that helps users manage their credit card debts. Some of her responsibilities include strategic planning, liquidity management and loan servicing. Prior to Tally, she co-led the capital markets operations at SoFi.
Dorfman has a background in fin tech, investment banking, and private equity. She started her career at JPMorgan and then moved over to BDT Capital Partners.
The best advice I can give is that you should find a company and a team that you’re excited to work for — and one that’s excited to have you on the team. Once you’re there, try to get as much feedback as you can. Because you really can only go so far by yourself. So, the benefit of having a great team and having a strong relationship with them is that you can get as much help as you can to develop as a professional.
Katherine Relle, 29, is a portfolio manager in the private equity group at JPMorgan.
Relle is a portfolio manager in the private equity group at JPMorgan. She also chairs the firm’s mentoring program, called NextGen, which fosters networking opportunities for early business professionals. Here’s her advice.
Set goals and review them often. Be opportunistic and flexible. If your goal isn’t going in the right direction, be flexible and look for other opportunities. Sometimes, people seem to have a one-track mind on a certain goal. If you see something that could align well or create a different take on what that goal is, then it worth exploring further.
Look at the resources around you and take full advantage of them. For example, I see a lot of people go to large firms after they graduate from the college. They offer so many professional development opportunities, like training that’s free to attend and toastmasters where people practice how to speak. Take full advantage of these opportunities and continue to learn early on in your career.
Kyle Samani, 28, managing partner and cofounder of Multicoin Capital.
Kyle Samani is the co-founder and managing partner of Multicoin Capital, an Austin-based hedge fund that invests exclusively in the crypto space. The crypto fund has $75 million assets under management and is backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz’s partner Marc Andreessen, and former PayPal executive David Sacks. Prior to Multicoin Capital, Samani co-founded his first company, Pristine, which built Google Glass software for surgeons.
Follow your passions, even if starting a company is grueling and hard. There are going to be days that you feel everything is going wrong. The way you will make it through this is by fixating on what you are really truly passionate about. So, find your passion and figure out how to do that 20 hours per day.
Michelle Arbov, 28, Vice President of M&A at IAC.
Michelle Arbov, age 28, is a rising star at IAC, a $15 billion internet conglomerate founded by media mogul Barry Diller. She joined the company three years ago as the associate director on the merger and acquisition team and has been promoted rapidly. Now, as the vice president of M&A at IAC, Arbov leads the company’s efforts in corporate development and financing.
Constantly ask questions. I think some people think that they need to know the answers when they speak. But I think asking questions and showing that you want to learn and want to grow is important, especially as you want to accelerate your career. Never just do your job. Try to make the person’s life who you’re working for easier. By having that mentality, you’re able to learn more and take on more than you thought you would.
Join the company that’s aligned with your ambitions. Culture is a huge factor in choosing the right place to work. An example of a great culture is one that values hard work and lets you take on as much as you can if you raise your hand — as long as you deliver.
Always ask for feedback so you can constantly make yourself better in your role — and take on more.
Loek Janssen, 29, cofounder and CTO of Nova Credit.
Janssen emigrated to the US from the Netherlands five years ago to pursue a master’s degree in Computational Mathematics & Engineering at Stanford. The brainchild of Janssen and two Stanford classmates, Nova aims to solve a problem the founders encountered: the difficulty in transferring personal credit histories from their home countries to the US. So they decided to invent an international credit passport system that allows people’s data to follow them from country to country.
Nova Credit was started as a Stanford graduate research project, but it’s gained rapid adoption since then. Now, the startup has raised $20 million to-date and is backed by investors like General Catalyst and Index Ventures.
There is an opportunity here to do good to help immigrants who are currently being rejected by the system. By doing good you also help the American economy. Immigrants who want to work have a good track record and income — but they have been rejected by the financial system purely because that is how we have been doing it for many decades, and that is something we have to change. So open your eyes — there are people that need help and market opportunities. You are missing out.